Unsure how to reply to questions and arguments against veganism? These real-life vegan comebacks make navigating difficult conversations easier without hurting any relationships.
When you first go vegan, you’re usually convinced that there are so many arguments in favor of this lifestyle! From animal rights issues to the environment and publish health, there are many reasons to go vegan that might have inspired you.
But especially if your family is not vegan and you’re invited to social gatherings, you might feel discouraged when talking about your new lifestyle.
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No need to shy away from conversations and speaking up for yourself! Our collection of helpful vegan comebacks helps you navigate such situations much better.
Over the years of following a vegan lifestyle and becoming activists for these issues, we’ve heard so many reasons why others think veganism isn’t for them or for anyone, really!
If you’re looking for specific guides, be sure to check out our vegan cookout tips and holiday survival guide.
Please be aware that there no one right answer to any of these subjects, so choose what is most authentic to you! For some further education, check out the following articles.
The Best Vegan Comebacks
We’re pretty sure you heard or read at least one of the following concerns or anti-vegan arguments before! Here’s how we would reply.
1. Where do you get your protein/calcium/nutrient x from?
This must be the one thing every vegetarian or vegan has heard before. Because once you mention your plant-based diet, everyone you’re talking to suddenly turns into a nutritionist and becomes greatly concerned with your well-being.
You know, because omnivores always eat a very nutrient-dense and “balanced” diet. Most of the time, your friend or colleague won’t really have an idea where said nutrient can be found – except for one food, which is probably an animal product.
So, where do vegans get their protein, calcium, and everything else? Food. We get it from food.
Plants make all the nutrients we need, all the essential amino acids and precursors our body uses to make essential nutrients from. Legumes provide lots of protein, greens have calcium, seeds offer nice doses of iron, and so on.
One single exception would be vitamin B12 – which is made by bacteria, not animals. The reason why omnivores aren’t very often deficient in this nutrient is that the animals they eat have been getting vitamin B12 supplements with their feed.
Wait, what? They eat supplements without knowing? Yeah, kind of.
Apart from that, around 40% of the US population has very low levels of vitamin B12 – most of whom do eat animal products. Vegans are usually better educated when it comes to meeting nutritional needs, so they know they need to supplement B12!
Then, you could ask your interlocutor where they get their antioxidants or fiber from after explaining this. And let them know that it’s not just all about protein.
Finally, more and more pro athletes are adopting a plant-based diet because it helps them become faster, stronger, and recover better. Though these might just be anecdotes, it goes to show that it’s a very beneficial way of eating.
2. The human body needs at least some amount of animal products!
For what magical nutrient do we do that? The biggest dietetic associations (in America, England, and others) have stated that a well-planned vegan diet is healthy for all stages of life – from conception to the end of life.
It’s true that animal products have some essential nutrients in them but they do occur in plants as well.
Also, food always comes in a package! And there are some nasties in meat, eggs, and dairy that you don’t want to be ingesting… such as cholesterol, saturated fat, trans fats, heme iron, methionine, and more.
According to Michael Greger, MD, and the Institute of Medicine, there is no upper tolerable amount of saturated fat, trans fat, or cholesterol in one’s diet – all of it is harmful.
If someone is eating animal products to “get their B12”, they should know that they are just ingesting secondhand supplements and it would be wiser to go for the pill or drops directly.
Oftentimes, this argument is needed to point out dietary inadequacies when you’re vegan – little does the other person know that people eating plant-based diets live longer on average and age more gracefully.
So, we should actually be more worried about those eating animal products than the other way around. Every diet comes with its pros and cons, you just have to be aware of them.
3. What are you allowed to eat?
We don’t follow any rules, so we are allowed to eat everything you’re allowed to, as well. The thing is that we live in alignment with our ethical values to not harm for taste pleasure or convenience – thus, we skip meat, dairy, eggs, and honey.
Vegans eat everything they want to and it doesn’t take any more willpower for us to go for the vegan burger than it does for you to not eat bark. It just simply isn’t food to us.
You could list a few of your favorite meals as an example of what you’re eating to show you’re not missing out on anything — like burgers, ice cream or cheesy casseroles!
4. Vegan food is weird and unsatisfying. Don’t you miss a good burger?
This often comes with “I would be so hungry and bored by just eating tofu and salad.” Sadly, most people don’t have an understanding of what vegan meals look like!
They forget that pasta, rice, potatoes, and all that delicious stuff they, too, eat is already vegan. Or they think that being a vegan means you only eat vegetables!
Sure enough, that does sound unsatisfying and everyone put on such a diet would crave a burger sooner or later out of sheer starvation.
Everything an omnivore eats can be eaten as a vegan version – tuna sandwiches, mac and cheese, muffins, pizza, burgers, and more. And not every vegan eats tofu, this is totally optional.
So, even if we sometimes miss the taste of a former favorite dish, there is a good likelihood that we can get a vegan version of it now. There’s the beyond meat burger, Gardein products, vegan ice cream, and much more these days.
We certainly don’t miss the tummy trouble, food coma, and everything else that came with eating animal products.
If you ask what kind of meals or foods the other person typically eats, you’ll find out that everyone sticks to their 6-8, maybe even 10, favorites and just rotates them.
So, even omnivores don’t have such a huge range of foods as they might think!
As a bonus, you could offer to take them out to a vegan restaurant or cook them your favorite vegan meal so they can experience the deliciousness of plant-based eating first hand.
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5. We have always eaten animals, it’s totally natural and normal!
There are a lot of things human beings have done for thousands of years – like stealing or fighting each other. Are these also considered normal and natural, therefore an ethically approved way of living?
Though it’s true that humans have been eating animals for a long time, this isn’t a great argument for anything at all.
Being able to eat calorically denser foods than just raw fruits and veggies has helped us tremendously during our evolution – but starchy foods played a much bigger role here than meat did.
Cooking starchy food was central to the dietary change that triggered and sustained the growth of the human brain, according to Professor Les Copeland.
When it comes to survival, nobody is advocating that you should rather starve than eat another animal. It’s still not a nice thing, but it’s necessary in this case.
For the longest time, human beings didn’t know any better than including animal products into their diet even though it wasn’t necessary anymore – but more and more research shows that we’re better off just sticking to plants.
Since we have the ability to just buy the plants instead of the animals at the grocery store, knowing it’s even the healthier choice, there is no excuse not to do so.
6. I only buy free-range & humane slaughter is fine!
So, your steak had a great life? Taking it away is even sadder, then. Would you rather end a happy life or a miserable life?
And would you personally be okay with being slaughtered that way?
All of these questions would be great comebacks – things your conversation partner probably hasn’t really thought of before.
All these ads showing us “happy meat” aren’t so well thought out and are just meant to make you feel good about buying animal products. You cannot do anything violent humanely, not even by putting a shiny label on it.
By wanting to know that the animal you are eating at least had a happy life and passed away painlessly, you are kind of admitting that the things that are happening are in and of themselves cruel or worrisome.
And it’s funny how almost everyone you talk to as a vegan is among the 5% or so who is buying and consuming all of these organic animal products!
And in case they don’t know for sure it’s organic, free-range, and slaughtered humanely, they wouldn’t eat it and stick to a vegan meal instead. Yeah, right?
All of these labels, by the way, don’t mean much to the animals – they just get slightly different feed, a few inches more room, or the theoretical possibility of getting some fresh air. They are still locked up, get their bodies mutilated, and end up at the same slaughterhouse.
7. Stop throwing your beliefs into my face; you’re no better than me!
Sometimes, people feel offended by you just living your life, without talking much about it at all. By ordering the vegan burger or the fries, by declining non-vegan food that’s offered, or even by silently eating your quinoa salad in a corner – all of these acts can play with people’s conscience and they see you as a walking ad for your “agenda”.
Most of the time, vegans don’t just suddenly start talking about their lifestyle, they get asked about it… and once the other person feels like they don’t have any good arguments against veganism anymore, they think they are being pressured or overruled.
Simply answering questions about veganism can be seen as being too preachy, a word that’s often associated with vegans. Of course, every vegan is different, has a different style and approach, so this might not apply to you at all.
Vegans aren’t magically better people than non-vegans. They try to reduce harm in the world and become better people than they used to be.
There is no objective scale on which you can measure the greatness of a person but we can all improve the way we’re living right now. All other variables held constant, a meat-eating person lives a more ethical life once they go vegan.
8. It’s too expensive and difficult to be vegan! Plus, I don’t have the time.
Vegan staple foods are just about the cheapest at the store – think potatoes, oats, rice, beans. That’s where you get the majority of your calories as a vegan.
The poorest people on the planet eat pretty much a plant-based diet (with the occasional meat for celebration) and if they can afford it, so can we. Check out our vegan on a budget guide for more!
Sure, it takes a little getting used to and some more preparation to transition to and stick to a vegan diet, but that’s not a good enough reason for taking an animal’s life. It has never been easier than today to get vegan meals when you’re out, you just cannot always expect an exquisite menu and tons of choices wherever you go.
Vegans happily make this compromise for their ethics and so far, nobody has starved to death just because they had to get the baked potato or green salad.
It doesn’t take more time to prepare a vegan meal at home than it would to cook up meat or cheese… rather the other way around! Couscous, pasta, lentils – ready in 10 minutes or so.
Taking out a piece of bread, hummus, or grabbing an apple takes even less. Much easier to get into meal prepping, too, since plant-based foods don’t go bad so quickly or aren’t as likely to harm your health once they are a little “off” (think salmonella or other bacteria).
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9. I could never do that, I would miss bacon/cheese/steak too much!
That’s what we thought, too – until we decided to cut out our favorite animal-based food and recognized that, after a week or two, our cravings went down and we didn’t really miss it so much anymore.
Plus, there is basically anything you want in a vegan form these days! Sure, it’s not 100% the same thing most of the time, but at least it’s in alignment with our ethical values and that makes more than just up for that.
We sometimes hear “I wouldn’t have the willpower” when we explain that we’re vegans. The truth is that we’re not working with willpower, we just made a decision which kind of became a habit or second nature very soon.
Yes, we sometimes have an emotional connection with certain foods, which is why people think they could never give it up.
You probably have the willpower not to engage in unethical things like stealing or hitting people, vegans just do the same with their food and lifestyle choices. Because the argument of something being tasty isn’t a good enough reason for doing this to other sentient beings.
If you come across the provocative version of this, which is “if animals weren’t meant to be eaten, why are they so tasty?”, you could say that cats, dogs, even people would probably be just as tasty and we don’t eat them, either – or that raw, uncooked flesh isn’t very flavorsome until you add a ton of herbs, spices, and ketchup or BBQ sauce to it. All of which come from plants.
10. Other animals eat animals too!
Sure they do and there are a few different reasons for that. These animals don’t have moral agency because they cannot conceptualize morality, therefore, cannot be held accountable.
Furthermore, they almost always hunt to survive – which is an acceptable reason. If a human would be attacked by another human and had to kill them in order to survive, that would be acceptable.
There are animals that are carnivorous, meaning they cannot survive without eating meat. They have no choice but to hunt – it’s a different situation for omnivorous animals who can live off of plants and meat.
Humans are not part of the food chain anymore, we removed ourselves and are living in societies where we can eat an ample amount of food every day throughout the whole year, diseases are treated or cured by medicine, we have heat and clothes and electricity.
So what’s the point of comparing yourself to a wild animal, like a lion? Since when are they great role models for humans? They fight for their lives over territories, eat their young, sniff each other… all of that doesn’t sound very appealing.
Living vegan has nothing to do with not letting carnivorous animals eat what they need to eat but to understand that we’re different and we can make this choice.
11. Can’t you just take the meat/cheese out of it or eat around it?
When you’re offered a meal with animal products in it and the chef or host forgot about your lifestyle and diet choices, they could feel embarrassed or like you’re making a big fuss here.
While we cannot avoid cross-contamination of our food with animal products when it’s prepared in the same kitchen, it’s not unreasonable to try and avoid obvious animal products on our plates.
Veganism is not about being perfect but about doing your best to reduce harm. For some new vegans, it might not be a huge problem to actually just pick out the meat and eat the rest – which is fine.
But most of us are appalled by the thought of a dead animal being in our food and we cannot enjoy our meal that way.
It’s totally reasonable to ask for a plant-based dish and send back the one that came with the animal product in it. You will increase the request for vegan options at the restaurant and the meal might even be eaten by a waiter on their break.
Animals and their products are not food to vegans, it would be equivalent to ask an omnivore if they couldn’t just “eat around” the poop.
12. Are you still vegan?
People sometimes think that veganism is just a fad like low carb or weight watchers diets are. Whereas some really just view their vegan diet as an experiment and something to go “on and off,” most vegans stand behind their ethics and don’t just change it up.
Yes, we’re still vegan. We also abstain from stealing or hitting children or drunk driving because we have educated ourselves on these topics and they don’t align with our values.
This question actually isn’t too bad because veganism has become a trend right now that people are “trying out” for a while, so it’s a reasonable thing to ask in the beginning.
You can make it clear that you have adopted this new position and that it’s not just a trend or fad to you.
13. But you can still eat fish/eggs/butter, right?
All of these are from animals, so we choose not to consume them. Just because it’s not as obviously animal-based as a steak doesn’t mean that it “doesn’t count” or anything.
Again, we don’t have a crazy or nonsensical set of rules! It’s understandable that not all animal products are obvious to the average consumer, some may not even think of fish as an animal.
Even a “little bit of butter” which you can’t really taste is a no-no for vegans because it came from an exploited animal.
You might also want to explain here why animal products like dairy and eggs are not ethical to you because many people believe that it’s okay to consume them since “no animal was harmed” for it.
And then, let them know about all the great substitutes you have for animal-based foods!
14. Don’t you think that plants have feelings, too?
This one has many layers to it. The person using this argument implies that because plants might feel pain as well that you could just eat basically anything since it’s all the same.
Even if that were the case, many many more plants have to “die” when you eat an animal product.
In order to have one pound of cow flesh on your plate, you need up to 12 pounds of grains to feed that animal beforehand. All that harvesting of crops must be so cruel, then!
But what’s even more important is that there hasn’t been any legitimate study that can prove that plants actually do feel anything. How could they, without a central nervous system or brain?
Just because plants are “alive” and react to stimulants doesn’t mean that there’s much else going on there. They do show some signs of intelligence but sentience is the deciding factor here, otherwise, we’d have to be concerned with the well-being of calculators as well.
Animals, on the other hand, have a well-developed nervous system and you can see their clear reaction when they are in pain. From an evolutionary perspective, it would make absolutely no sense that an immobile plant can feel pain but do nothing about it.
Finally, ask where they would rather take their children: apple picking or to a slaughterhouse? The answer might be a little too obvious but saying that plants have feelings isn’t really an argument that can be taken seriously, either.
15. You don’t look like you’re a vegan!
Vegans come in all shapes and sizes from all paths of life. Veganism is an ethical standpoint and doesn’t automatically mean that someone eats a very healthy diet or is scrawny.
There are as many ways to eat a vegan diet as there are to eat a non-vegan diet! Being vegan just means not eating meat, eggs, dairy, and honey as well as not buying anything else an animal had to be exploited for like leather, wool, cosmetics, or tickets to the zoo.
Nowhere does it say anything about only wearing hemp clothes, not shaving, not eating junk food, or having a certain appearance.
Just because people have certain assumptions or prejudices that doesn’t mean you have to live up to that. There are lots of great vegan athletes that show how vibrant, strong, fast, and healthy you can be on a vegan diet as opposed to media coverage of skinny, malnourished vegans.
16. One person cannot make a difference anyway!
Tell that to Gandhi or Martin Luther King! The truth is that it only takes a few people to inspire many others and the thing will spread like crazy.
Every purchase, every dollar spent counts. Meat and dairy producers are feeling the pressure and start looking into producing plant-based alternatives.
Every conversation or mentioning of a vegan lifestyle counts and helps normalize it, spreading awareness.
If everyone had the mindset of “one person doesn’t make a difference”, then nothing would get done and everyone could act like an idiot. If it were you on the line to the slaughterhouse, then it would make the biggest difference if your life was spared. To the animal, it’s the same.
Also, knowing that you don’t contribute to this harmful industry gives you such peace of mind (as well as a healthier body most likely) that it’s already worth it.
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Which of these comebacks and arguments have helped you the most and what are you asked all the time by non-vegan? Tell us in the comments below, Pin this article here or share it on social media!
41 thoughts on “16 Witty Vegan Comebacks for Arguments”
Plants have lives too, they did nothing to you
No human on this planet can survive by just eating meat, therefore you must eat plants too, and surely by minimizing the number of deaths of animals who have a personality, a conscience, feelings, and can experience love, affection, pain and fear would have a greater impact than not eating plants? It’s true that plants have a lifespan, but would you like to be put through a slaughterhouse, or to be raped and then have your child taken away from you and killed, and then you’re milked until killed too? Or would you prefer the halal method where your throat is slit and then you’re left hanging upside down to bleed to death, or would you rather simply be grinded up with thousands of your kind until you die?
That is just the best comeback eva
I am a concerned grandmother. Newborns 0-6 mos consume only breastmilk which is not vegan since it comes from a live being not a plant. If the mom cannot breast feed or has low milk supply, is it OK to feed your baby milk based formula? I believe that a infants digestive system is not yet developed enough for plants. So you allow your baby at least to be non vegan until they start on solid foods correct? I am not against vegan adults. I just think it should be made clear that a infant is not vegan . Do vegan moms impose veganism on a baby ?
The definition of vegan as set out by the Vegan Society is:
‘Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.’
A baby drinking breastmilk from its mother is not exploiting the mother. It is a mother caring for its child and therefore is vegan.
I think you should look into what actually being a vegan is before you get concerned about these things.
Linda asked about mothers who want to feed newborns more than the can provide with their own bodies. What then?
there’s vegan formula: https://www.veganeasy.org/veganparents/breastfeeding-your-vegan-baby/
Very good! It is always good to be prepared for stupid questions. If we have the knowledge, we can change so many lives. – Tanja
Happy you appreciate the article :)
This is such a good list! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these kind of comments – and it really does get tiresome! But I think you’ve made some really good points and it’s so good to be prepared with some go-to answers. Especially as people seemingly want to catch you off-guard! Love your last point in particular :)
wow, thanks so much for this beautiful comment! We thought that many people would be able to relate… after all, this article came about after many years of hearing the same things over and over again ourselves, haha.
Hopping over to your blog in a bit to see what you’re all about :)
Thanks again for stopping by!
Best wishes x
Brilliant article! I feel like we should add some of these to yourveganfallacyis.com, you know?
that would be awesome! There are just too many “reasons” people come up with to justify their non-vegan way of living.
How do we add some of the arguments from the article to your site? Please know that we’re super busy at the moment but feel free to do this yourself.
One of the arguments I always have trouble with is “well their a different species so that’s ok”
Hi, this phrase is just pure “speciesism”. Nobody could use this argument for other justifications… we as humans have chosen which species are okay to eat (chickens, cows, pigs, fish etc) and which you aren’t allowed to treat badly in any way (dogs, cats, horses, etc.). What is the difference between all of these animals in regards to their capacity to suffer and feel pain?
If another species would want to start enslaving and killing human beings because WE are a different species, we wouldn’t accept this justification. Find more here: http://www.animalequality.net/speciesism-antispeciesism
Thanks for the input :)
Sooo good, you just nailed it since I have been faced with every single one of these reactions. Thank you so much for all these tips to answer these remarks because I feel like everytime the right comeback to these remarks just occurs to me after the awkward conversation and I often turn very defensive without the right answer :-)
so happy to have helped! It’s a very common issue for vegans, unfortunately. Just so much misinformation out there and many people would just use any “argument” to justify their behavior if they don’t want to change.
We’re thinking about writing a part 2 someday because there are many more comments that need to be tackled ;)
Thanks for checking in.
One that’s been coming up a lot lately is the “grass fed, free range, sustainability” meat. A friend (who I’m haveing a very hard time staying friends with, wherever food comes up) loves to express his free range, grass fed, meat to everyone. He even goes so far to say it’s sustainable and more humane. I’ve tried to say a few things politely that there’s nothing humane about killing or a slaughterhiuse, nor is it sustainable. When I mention the amount of land that’s needed, and that our firsts and beautiful land scapes would be plowed down, and are being plowed down juts to make rooks for these creatures. He just changes it and fights about wheat fields and other grains, and the animals that are killed to protect it. I express that the killing is the same for a “free range field” if not worse. His usual rebuttal is that he’s done his research and its ok. I gave up at that point for my own well being cause I hate fighting about stuff. It juts really sucks when people don’t even want to take a moment to really think about what we’re taking about.
good article. you added a few new options to our comebacks :)
i just get so sick of the conversations though, to be honest.
Thank you for this post. I am as polite as possible when people ask questions. I like the last one especially. Yes one person can make a difference.
I grew up with a Native American tradition of hunting – and eating – wild game. I remember having a problem with eating beautiful birds, animals and fish even as a child. But it wasn’t until middle adulthood that I was able to follow a primarily plant-based diet (which, by the way, many indigenous cultures followed in the past since meat was available only at certain times.) Today I can’t call myself vegan because I do use egg whites since most other legume-based protein sources are to be avoided on a renal diet.
I used to raise my own chickens and, believe me, they were well–treated treasured pets who got the best of everything we could provide and never were penned or wing-clipped. So I felt no guilt over collecting and preparing and eating their eggs. I don’t have that choice today and it bothers me enough that I continue to search for kidney-friendly protein alternatives. Applesauce makes a great binder for many baked goods and I use egg free noodles. Any suggestions re egg substitutes are welcome as long as they are renally acceptable.
And it’s funny how almost everyone you talk to as a vegan is among the 5% or so who is buying and consuming all of these organic animal products!
This article is so well written !
Thank you for all these tips and comebacks, I just wish I read it earlier when I first became vegetarian then vegan.
I have been confronted with just every item on this list, plus other such as “If cow milk is not authorized and you believe humans equal animals, what do you think of breastfeeding ? Shouldn’t it be forbidden ?” (this one was so provocative I couldn’t think of an answer!) or “Your life must be so sad… ” (at the moment I just answered “no it’s not sad” but I wish I’d tell how veganism made me happy!) and so on.
I will keep this article and review it once in a while to always be prepared ;-)
I find it very difficult to handle the people who claim to love animals but still eat them. And say I know what goes on but I do not want to see it. I wish all people had to spend an hour in a slaughterhouse.
I’ve watched videos of slaughterhouses in the past, I knew how it looked like and was concious that the workers could use violence to get things done (either rarelly or sistematically), but in any case I knew this would be only a few minutes or suffering and some hours prior of stress (i.e., hearing relatives die). This was acceptable to me and I can understand that this suffering can be justified by most in order to feed “superior beings”.
My mind changed completely the day I asked myself not how they die, but rather how they LIVE. I gathered information about industrial farms in different countries for every kind of meat and this became not acceptable at all. Some hours of suffering, OK; a life of filth, lack of care, traumas, infections, monotony… No way.
But then I came across much, much more side problems that this article barely gets into, many of which I couldn’t imagine that were so great. How could ever my steak be linked to poor people starving in Africa? Or to insects and other species going extinct? How is my salmon fillet connected to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or the lack of oxygen renewal? It just blew my mind and made me ask: how could we reach such levels of nonsense, cruelty and disconnection from reality?
I also think everyone should be faced with how their products are made. My school took us to a carton factory, a chocolate factory and to a milling industrial park. Why aren’t any school trips to those buildings that sprawl over any rural land and treat animals as mere meat living factories? And why do all water/CO2/wildlife/antiplastic campaigns avoid talking about stopping consuming animal products?
So basically,I’m vegan and I’ve been told that we can’t live off a plant based diet,I’m stupid,and drinking and ingesting dairy products doesn’t do anything to the cows,and that I’m missing out through alot. Can you guys just send me a comforting paragraph because I feel that,that is what I need. I love being vegan,but the biggest problem will definitley be dealing with rude people.
thanks for reaching out – I feel your pain and am fortunately to almost never have these comments thrown at me anymore. I guess being vegan for 8 years and becoming slim and healthy instead of weak and sick was enough to shut everyone’s mouths :)
There’s actually soooo much research behind plant-based diets and how they are superior in terms of disease prevention and nutritional density. Just browse nutritionfacts.org or watch the YouTube channel Mic the Vegan for all the different topics you need some ammunition for. The largest nutrition and dietetics organization in the USA released a statement years ago saying that vegan diets are great for all stages of life: https://www.eatrightpro.org/-/media/eatrightpro-files/practice/position-and-practice-papers/position-papers/vegetarian-diet.pdf
If you’re up for it, search for the video “dairy is scary” on YouTube, too.
Sending big hugs, hang in there! Connect with other vegans online, like joining FB groups, to feel like you’re not the only sane person around ;)
Ok, I have a comment that just made me FLIP MY ISH!!!! My friend and I were talking about what to serve at a charity event we’re having. I mentioned last year that I heard several people mention there weren’t any vegan options…and I am vegan. She responds, “Being vegan is a choice. I’m not going to get vegan food for my event. We’ll serve hummus and salad.” I totally flipped out on her. Like full on screaming that is she ever wants to get under my skin, she found my krytonite. I told her her lifestyle is also her choice and she will get cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Can you PLEASE help me explain to her that it really isn’t a “choice” like deciding if she wants a burger or a cheeseburger.
Awww yes I can feel you – how about it’s not someone’s personal choice if it involves a victim, that she’s forgetting about someone? And that if she could choose to either do harm or no harm, which one would be in line with her values? Ultimately, she can legally choose to pay for animals to be killed and consume them, yes, so it is a choice. Maybe just talking more about the implications of that choice could make her think twice – especially useful when she’s eating a tasty vegan meal at the same time :)
I have been a vegetarian for 40 years since age 12 and thought I was doing enough diet-wise until my son inspired me (and made me aware of reasons) to become vegan. I have always been desperately upset at how society treats animals and am finding it more difficult to accept people close to me, as in my husband and mother, eating animals. My son has made me realise educate, don’t preach (how right is he!) But I will never get there with these people, I have to live with someone who constantly prepares and eats animals and seriously, I don’t know how to handle it!!!!! One conscience,my own-to take care of. But how do you still love and respect people who just don’t see it! How can people be so cruel!!! P.S I would have been a vegetarian a lot sooner had I not assumed the meat on my plate did not come from an animal who had passed away from old age!! 12 was the age I was able to say NO MORE!)
12 is an incredibly young age and you must be extremely proud to say it. I don’t know how you managed to keep on that while parents and friends had surely told you you were mad and would ruin your health.
On your concern, I hope that one year after you and your loved ones reached a point were you can live together, although I don’t know if I would be able to do so. When I first considered seriously becoming vegan, my partner thought our relationship would be over, we could no longer live together. Fortunately, the sheer amount of reasons to avoid animal products were enough to make him progressively less and less of them. It’s very difficult, I know. I find it very diccifult not to act as a preacher when I see things so unarguably clear. Try to get them to watch some documentaries that are entertaining and not disturbing (so something more like Seaspiracy and less like Dominion).
Thank you so much for writing this article.
My thought is a certain amount of people from either end of the spectrum (carnivore and vegan) are overly wrapped up with their own perception and ideologies and would not compromise or bargain with people from the other end. That being said, I do think that reducing meat consumption would help save our planet and animals. I tried to go on a vegetarian diet several times and always go back to my old diet. Through the few attempts, I learnt how to incorporate more plant-based products into my diet and think that I am most likely to be a flexitarian.
I understand the cause of vegetarianism and veganism and think it’s respectable. In order to reduce industrial animal farming, we need to educate people on the cons of excessive meat-eating and let them know that they can start by cutting down their meat intake rather than telling them to go on a plant-based diet straight away. We need to remember that we are individuals with our own mind and in order to solve the environmental and animal welfare problem, we need to suggest something that is readily accepted by the majority of the population to reach the optimal outcome.
Research also showed a lower risk of heart disease but a higher risk of stroke among vegans and vegetarians and more studies should be done to see if there’s a cause-and-effect association.
Someone said I wasn’t doing any good to the planet and that if the whole world was vegan it would ruin earth because we’re eating all the plants.
They said vegans eat our(meat eaters) foods food. So there will be none left for the animals if we all became vegan. (Stupid) I tried defending but I need help lol please!
the majority of (mono) crops that exist are used to feed livestock: “U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat”, find the whole Cornell article here: https://news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat
I believe whoever told you that never looked at current research suggesting that we all need to move to a plant-based diet if we want to save this beautiful planet. Using plants to feed animals and then eating those animals is very inefficient in terms of energy and land usage. Have you checked out Mic the Vegan on YouTube? He has great videos (with lots of sources) on that :)
I liked that you said how you can be strong and vibrant on a vegan diet. My brother wants me to go vegan with him and I’m worried about finding the right food for the diet. I’ll be sure to research different vegan restaurants and grocery stores where I can regularly get my vegan food.
7 years vegan and I’ve really really have it my best and took some under handed comments in the best way possible. This year we are staying with my in-laws and again we all go out to eat and my brother in laws said
“ well nothing but fried pickles for you tonight “ – I said “no those are usually fried with milk but I can check “
He said “ well I guess it’s just alcohol “
Again they never think about me for dinner even when my husband which is the main family members said “ Thai food and Mexican usually has Opitions for us”
It’s really hurtful and sad. I love my niece but the adults are so hard to keep smiling around. I usually don’t take it but when it’s family you know ????
I’ve heard all of these and more. I’m having a hard time staying vegan, GF and low fat. Especially bc we get food donations and the GF bread ALWAYS has egg in it! It straight up tastes like eggs. My BF eats mostly vegan with me actually since he found vegan burgers. I’m currently breastfeeding my 18mo. I am naturally small and petite but I’m back down to my pre-baby/ not working out weight. So…people like to use my low weight as leverage. Funny thing is when I was slingging back like 6 Mt. Dew and eating hot pockets and booze nobody bat an eyelash. It never once crossed my mind that people would say my daughter isn’t vegan bc she’s breastfed so when my family all got in my face about it (mind, I never bring it up… and I was a new mom) I was shocked and felt down bc here I am trying to be a new mommy and I’m getting bombarded with my baby not being a vegan. Ugh, I don’t even want to go to family functions anymore. It’s funny how people pick on vegans like we’re the bad guys for not wanting to hurt other beings. Also, as a breastfeeding mom, I now totally understand the mommy animals pain when they have to be milked. Omg that would just be so painful if they did that to me. I’ve also come to realize that most people I know don’t know how to have empathy. I thought it was a thing everyone had but it’s learned.
Excellent post, Alena.
There’s one argument that I find very difficult to reason with and would like someone to help me. That’s the “you’re worried about animals but you don’t mind poor children mining coltan for your phone or bangladeshian women exploited for your clothes. So you’re telling me animals are more important”.
thank you, Priscilla! I have a few thoughts for you regarding the argument you presented:
1. just because someone cares about animals doesn’t mean they care MORE about animals than humans or they don’t care about humans at all
2. veganism means causing the least harm possible & practicable, you do what you can while knowing you cannot cause NO harm at all
3. you could be vegan while also buying only fair trade products that ensure no humans have been exploited
4. it is inherent that animals are harmed in the production of non-vegan food while you can get second-hand smartphones or ethically sourced materials for technology
5. eating a veggie burger instead of a beef burger is much more practicable for all of us in the developed world than not using modern technology, cars, walking on roads etc, all of which causes a small degree of harm (insects being killed, animal byproducts used in car material, possible worker exploitation etc.)
You can turn the argument around and ask whether the person themselves avoids causing all of this harm done to humans and why they couldn’t add reaching for the oat milk right next to the cow’s milk to their list of doing good in this world :)
Wow! I read the whole article and not one “argument” for a plant-based diet was centered on health — which is the sole reason I began eating vegan. And it’s the only “argument” that has ever made any impact on the people I have talked to about what I eat. I send them to Dr. Greger at NutritionFacts.org whose research-based articles sold me on this way of eating. My second tier “argument” — assuming a conversation gets that far on this topic — is the global ecological benefit of not eating animals. I leave ethics alone because, like religion, what a person puts in their mouth is a very personal thing and I believe each individual gets to decide for her/himself.